The Aristocats II was a planned sequel to The Aristocats. It was scheduled to be released in 2007 but production was cancelled in early 2006.
To make a long story short, Artistocats 2 was eventually shelved because there was skepticism by the executives that it would find sufficient audience in an ever more competitive market. It’s one of those disappointing things that happen in the film business from time to time, but it may have been a wise call. The good news was that we had pulled off our little experiment and succeeded in delivering a quality reel in record time. The bad news was that we had established a precedent of what can be accomplished in that time frame and the producers and budgeters at Disney had taken notice.
To make Artistocats 2, we tried to distill the essence of the original film. In the first film, the kittens’ nemesis was a misguided butler intent on stealing their fortune. The sequel created a similar dynamic by pitting them against a jewel thief on the open seas aboard a luxury cruise ship.
The flavor of the film was sort of a mystery/farce/comedy. There was also a young kitty love interest for Marie who became the focal character of the film. By singling out one character for the central story arc we could do a better job at strengthening the elements of the film. Sometimes when you have an ensemble cast, things can really get watered down because you don’t have enough time to spend with each character. We tried to avoid that pitfall.
The original film takes place in Paris but we didn’t feel they exploited the setting to its fullest potential. We wanted to adopt a European flair by filling our ship with a cast from places like France, Scotland, England, Spain, etc, thus creating a rich environment in both scenery and character in the era of the early 1900s. Our main objective besides the mystery element was to make it completely fun. We worked hard to up the action scenes and create a level of high energy.
I really think this film was headed in the right direction and with another pass we could have gotten it right but there are other important considerations in making films of any kind. Making sure you have an audience for your movie is paramount. Disney just felt that Aristocats 2 was in jeopardy of falling through the cracks in a competitive marketplace.
Another interesting side note by the way – originally this movie was slated to be a traditionally 2D animated film like the original, but that strategy was eventually changed by Disney Execs who felt that a CG animated version might do a better job at capturing interest. I personally am not a big fan of converting characters from 2D to CG mainly because there is an importance in designing for your targeted medium. Going this route, we probably would have lost a good deal of softness which is essential to these character’s charm but since it was ultimately shelved the world will never know for sure.
Characters: Duchess | Thomas O'Malley | Toulouse | Marie | Berlioz | Roquefort | Frou-Frou | Edgar Balthazar | Madame Adelaide Bonfamille | Georges Hautecourt | The Milkman | Napoleon and Lafayette | Abigail and Amelia Gabble | Uncle Waldo | Scat Cat | Alley cats | Elvira (deleted)